Work-life Lessons from Seinfeld
In honour of the 30th anniversary of the show about nothing, four fans come together to share their refreshing take on the gang’s work-life wisdom.
From George: Be yourself
George Costanza wasn’t exactly a model employee.
He somehow managed to have 14 jobs over the course of the show and was fired from most of them for some pretty spectacular reasons. And yet, I still managed to learn something from him, and not just about the importance of leaving a meeting on a high note and having a good comeback at the ready (#jerkstore).
The biggest thing George taught me about work was how to enjoy my time away from it.
After all, there is no one who appreciated time off like George. Whether it was eating an entire block of cheese, draping himself in velvet, or fulfilling any of the ambitious plans he laid out for himself (but never accomplished) during The Summer of George, he was always true to the things that made him happy and did them, without shame, every chance he got.
George Costanza would never waste a day off doing things that didn’t bring him joy. And neither should you.
— Florence McCambridge, Content Writer
From Elaine: Go big
When I think about what made me the person I am today, I often think of Elaine Benes. It might be more rational to credit people I know in real life, given that those relationships are reciprocal — family, friends, and colleagues grow and change together. But though the influence of fictional characters may be entirely one-sided, it is no less potent.
Elaine taught me that it was okay to take up space, especially with my salad order. She taught me to literally push back on the things I find incredulous (get OUT!). Along with my fellow passengers on the TTC, she taught me that I can say anything I want on the subway, as long as it’s in the form of an internal monologue. She taught me to learn by doing, even when I’m thrown into something with little to no experience (urban sombrero, anyone?). And, perhaps most importantly, Elaine taught me to dance like nobody’s watching: even when the whole company is present and accounted for.
— Cassie MacKenzie, Digital Communications Manager
From Kramer: Bring yourself
To this day when someone asks “What do you do?” I channel Cosmo Kramer and say, “Oh, I DO very well.” Thinking back to career goals from an earlier time, Cosmo Kramer hit many of them squarely on the whale’s blowhole. Make your own hours, work remotely from anywhere, develop resilience and agility, and enter every room confidently even if you trip and fall on the way in. Kramer really hammered home that we are all qualified to bring our unique and sometimes peculiar selves to the jobs we’re doing.
Kramer also taught me that the route to success wasn’t all going to be delicious papayas. Along the way, you’re going to get a mealy peach. Knowing who you are and deepening what you bring will pay off with credibility, mobility and Cuban cigars at the end of the day. Kramer taught me that even as you build skills and acquire tools, there’s no point in pretending to be something you’re not. Who wants to end up having someone else’s success? Sounds insane and sentimental…or is it SO sane that you just blew your mind? Giddyup.
—Michael Schaus, Senior Design Strategist
From Jerry: Overanalyze
If there’s one thing we can agree on about Jerry Seinfeld, it’s that he’s an astute observer of people. Instead of working in an office, we see him spending a lot of time with his friends, eating at Monk’s, standing around his apartment, yada yada yada. He can live this sweet life of cereal and conversation because his work as a comedian is based on watching people.
In environments like Scotiabank Digital Factory and Vandelay Industries, where teams are focused on innovation and new product development, careful study of our customer’s behaviour is critical to our success. Jerry’s overanalysis of human behaviour may indeed be what inspired me to become a Behavioural Economist. Both Jerry and I watch, listen, wear puffy shirts, and dissect the information we learn to the most minute degree possible. And it works. Jerry’s observational comedy is funny as hell, and we create the best experiences when we co-create them with our customers. What’s the deal with online banking?!
Aside from that very important lesson, Jerry also taught me to always say a big hearty “Helloooo” to colleagues, even when they ask you not to.
—Zach Zobary, Senior Behavioural Designer